Has Your Joomla Been Hacked?

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It may not always be visible – which is exactly why most hacking attempts of any of your platforms – here, your Joomla – are incredibly dangerous in the long run, since they’re working in the background to bring down your site through persistent efforts. Today’s malware software and ads are designed in such a way that the malicious code is not always outright visible.

User-friendly with a wide variety of extensions allows Joomla to function as a trustworthy and convenient platform for your activities. However, it has had its share of issues such as Joomla XSS and Joomla SQL injection which attract attackers by creating exploitative vulnerabilities within the system. The situation worsens if the patches are not tackled in an earlier stage. Many hacking activities organized by spammers or black SEO propagators aim at redirecting your site somewhere else that gets paid per click as most users do not realize that this is malicious redirection.  Here is the Joomla firewall: https://www.getastra.com/blog/cms/joomla-security/joomla-firewall-joomla-antivirus/

What signs should you look out for?

You might see suspicious links on your Joomla site that are not yours – it could even be text, images, or in other forms. The age-old mechanism of unwanted advertisements filling up your screen is an obvious indicator. There’s probably a bright, red warning sign that doesn’t allow you to access your site saying, “The website ahead contains malware!” or “Reported attack site!”, because Google has marked your site as harmful. Sometimes, only a white screen would be visible on your Joomla site that could possibly be the result of hacking, but you can always select the option to show ‘Maximum Errors’ under global configuration to refer to the hidden messages.

Some other warning signs include:

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  • There is a sudden decrease in your website traffic or original conversions, and if on checking Google Analytics, you observe that there is an actual, unexplained slowdown, the most viable reason is that your visitors are receiving indication not to visit your site due to the harmful content. This can increase your bounce rate, as malware detection plug-ins start spouting warnings. This can be supported by checking your site on Google Search, where results show the link to your site accompanied by text that you did not add and which is completely unrelated to the usual content on your site.
  • There is a general decrease in the running speed of your site, responding sluggishly to any requests for loading new pages. This is another possible indication of malware distribution or hijacking of your account for spam and unverified torrents.

  • Emails from your domain suddenly become blacklisted, as your customers convey, or the emails they receive do not seem from your side at all.
  • There are unexplained password failures when you try to login and checking your firewall extensions and associated Joomla security features, none of them seem to be functioning properly. Your Google Webmaster tools will showcase notifications.

  • A quick indication that comes with no possible warning is when the hosting server suspends your account, sending warning messages that malware has been detected on your account. Sometimes, the message says that the malware has been detected and removed, but this may not always be the complete truth. If hacking attempts could compromise your Joomla security once to insert files that contained virus, merely removal of the infected files is not a permanent solution. What it requires is a comprehensive evaluation to detect the vulnerability that caused this situation and fix that loophole.
  • For those familiar with the technical aspect of your Joomla platform, check out for recent modifications to your ‘.htaccess’ file such as 301 redirects from the site to other pages that are not familiar; the config.php and the backend data contains administrative users or extra user accounts with added privileges that you do not recognize placing there.

  • You notice oddly named tables in your database and there are other files in the image directory with extensions that do not end with the familiar image format extensions such as ‘.php’.

  • Now that Google has begun to cover up keywords, it hardens the process of finding out if users are accessing your site on the basis of keywords that are common with spammers – but, do give a detailed check on your Joomla account and associated analytics by checking the site history through backend to see what kind of information your site visitors are targeting.

For easy resolution, target online scanners with an established reputation since the removal of such hacks require precision and expertise to not mess any other vitals during the process. Good software will also allow you to detect other viruses, malware, and other threats such as Sucuri, Virus Total, and Rescan. The entire experience should dictate future methods of handling your Joomla security, monitoring its data at all times to detect any unusual activity, since it is much easier to talk about prevention than handling the impact of the threat afterward.

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